Marshmallow Problem Solving

I love our new Mini Scientist books (by Lisa Burke) that are new to The Learning Ladder catalogue. I like doing experiments at home and showing Miss Mimi a little bit of science here and there. So when I saw a giant bag of marshmallows on sale yesterday, I grabbed them and a pack of spaghetti too and I told Miss Mimi that there would be some mega fun to be had with them. She just looked at me, ignored me and went about her business. She quite obviously had no idea what kind of fabulous activity I had lined up…marshmallow structures!

Now, that’s more of the look I was after…a little bit of enthusiasm Mim, thank-you!

Before you start giggling at my work, remember this; I am not an architect nor an engineer. Not that you have to be one to make these spaghetti and marshmallow towers, but in my case, some sort of skill in those areas might have been handy here.

We only have the ‘In the Garden’ Mini Scientist book at home and this experiment is out of the ‘In the Kitchen’ book, so I had to go from memory…

I started out with a pentagon shape.

And built up from there. It took me a long time to realise that the marshmallows were just too big for the poor weak spaghetti to hold up, but by then I had shortened the spaghetti on the top layer Β to make a smaller pentagon and it held up well. Β I need the Mini Scientist book more than ever now as I have become slightly obsessed about perfecting a sturdy design.

This experiment mainly just taught Miss Mimi that her mother chats to herself a lot while trying to figure things out. But even though I was immersed in my own little project, Miss Mimi got stuck into one herself…a leaning triangle tower.

Our My less than perfect structure above. I will keep you posted on a better design, promise!

In the meantime, it is interesting to me to see that there are companies out there who have their teams take part in design challenges for marshmallow and spaghetti structures. See the attached video from Tom Wujec to hear why this kind of kiddie fun is helping to build great teams and there is also a funny little fact about why children are better at this than CEO’s and Uni grads. Made me giggle.

If you have older children imagine what fun it would be to do this as a family? To map out a design together, to talk about what you think might work well or not and build a marshmallow structure together. And parents…try not to take over!

Check out Childhood 101, where we play ‘link up’, for lots more ideas.


10 thoughts on “Marshmallow Problem Solving

  1. Lol, I love your daughter’s expression as she works on her tower – too cute πŸ™‚ I think I’d need to get my hubby onto this, it looks like his sort of project πŸ˜‰

  2. So, neither of us are engineers, huh? LOL

    At least we’re giving it a go, and I love that Miss Mimi worked on her own structure too πŸ™‚

    Interesting clip also.

  3. LOL, no Amanda, sadly we aren’t, but having a lot of fun.
    Thanks for commenting on the clip, I found it really interesting myself. Funny how much over-thinking and analysing we do as adults. The answers are all in the marshmallows it seems! πŸ™‚

    Narelle, would love to see what kinds of structures all the husbands would come up with.

  4. Cool idea! And it will give us something to do with the marshmallows I am not keen on letting our kids eat after reading their ingredient list!

  5. Oh my goodness, how much fun. And I JUST SO happen to have a stale half box of spaghetti I am too cheap to throw out and a brand new box of marshmallows πŸ™‚ You just made all the kids (myself included) in my house super happy! Thanks, I am so glad I found the Childhood 101 link up, I have a feeling I won’t want to miss any of them.

  6. Pingback: 13 Activities to do at a Great Big Lego Party | Stuff With Thing

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